TESTIMONY: Vasile P. – “The majority of Jews were involved in small scale trade. They had shops where one could buy sugar, matches, petrol to light the lamps – everything one needed. Moishe, Ragmir, Itzel Cole, Mihai Sabltitsa were the Jews who owned shops.”

BASIC INFO: A Yahad team travelled to Romania for its 8th research trip to the country, in partnership with its sister organization Roma Dignity. The first ten days of investigations took place in the northwest of Transylvania, near the borders with Ukraine and Hungary. Thanks to 28 witness accounts, the team was able to establish the process of the deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz. The testimonies revealed involvement of the local population, especially the requisition of men and their carts to transport Jews to the ghettos or to the trains to be hauled onto cattle cars.

During the trip, the team interviewed 28 witnesses and survivors.

PLACES: Satu Mare, Săpânța; Sighetu Marmaţiei, Giulești, Berveni, Dindeşti, Baia Mare, Finteușu Mare, Buciumi, Cehei, Jidou, Valea Seacă, Bătarci, Porumbești, Halmeu, Șomcuta Mare, Ulmeni, Târgu Jiu, Strehaia.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: This research trip paid special attention to the fate of the Roma people. The research took place in the Oltenia region, home in particular to the “Caldarari” people. For centuries, they were a nomadic people with unique customs, known for making different objects out of aluminium and copper.
 
Other Roma groups were traditionally artisans and worked as blacksmiths or shoemakers, sold horses or made tools. For centuries, the Roma were mistreated and persecuted in Europe. In the German occupied zones, the fate of the Roma varied from country to country according to local circumstances.

Before being deported, the Jews were forced to wear yellow stars. Jews occupying official state posts were forced to quit their jobs. The Jews were forbidden to go out and progressively became prisoners in their own houses. After several days, all the Jews were gathered up and taken to the ghettos or directly to the freight cars.

KEY FINDINGS:
– The deportation of the Jews
– The persecution of the Roma people.
This research trip was carried out in partnership with our sister organization Roma Dignity.